As I think about some of the reactions to the ELCA’s statement on Human Sexuality, namely the claims that God’s judgment was leveled in the form of a tornado at the steeple etc. etc. I think about the other sins common to Christians that somehow don’t get the tornado treatment.
- Worship of mammon. Jesus said, not that it is hard to be gay and enter the Kingdom, but rich. (Matt. 19:23) Can we say that it is hard to be rich and be an American Christian? No.
- Lust. What is ignored in the ELCA’s statement by these self proclaimed prophets for the Lord (John Piper) is this statement:
“This is why this church opposes non-monogamous, promiscuous, or casual sexual relationships of any kind.
Indulging immediate desires for satisfaction, sexual or otherwise, is to “gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians
5:16–19). Such transient encounters do not allow for trust in the relationship to create the context for trust in sexual intimacy.” (pg. 16)
I don’t know how this could be any more clear. The Church opposes the sort of sex, gay or otherwise that is lustful.
Jesus’ demands the sort of truth telling that all churches find themselves in want for with these words:
Matt 5:27-29 NIV
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery .’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
- Hate. This is the big one.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool !’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. NIV
If you haven’t struggled with hate in the church I submit that you haven’t been close enough to anyone else in the church for enough time to really be a member. Church demands the kind of proximity and rigorous honesty that causes friction and yes, untoward anger. That we can be the Church and not kill each other is wonderful testimony of the grace of God and the active presence of the Holy Spirit.